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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By

What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By

“You complete me!” It sounds like a sappy phrase from a romantic movie.

Sometimes, however, we do have experiences that make us feel that way.

Imagine the feeling you have after eating a delicious meal and biting into an equally decadent dessert. Or imagine you are at the end of a beautiful day, maybe on vacation, when one seemingly perfect moment unfolded after the next.

A friend of mine described this feeling after having her third child. In that moment, she said their family felt complete.

The feeling of life being complete can be like deep peace, appreciation for all that we have and all that we are, with no other wishes in the moment. It can bring a sense of being home.

As we go through life, we are constantly being bombarded by messages about what we need or how we can make our lives better.

However, the feeling of completeness is not about reaching some outer goal that we can check off our list. Instead, it’s something that happens internally and is very personal.

So, what is a complete life?

Ask Yourself This Question

It’s important to ask:

What does living a complete life mean to you?

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Have you ever experienced a feeling of your life seeming to be complete, even if only for a moment?

My personal belief is that when we experience a sense of completeness, we are being present, grateful, and connected to our unique, inner essence.

By essence, I mean that energy or spark you have within you than no one else on the face of the earth does or ever will.

I believe living a complete life means being you—the real you.

What Is Completeness, Really?

There are so many different ways we experience this essence or gift—our most authentic selves.

We see this essence in action when someone is doing something he or she truly loves to do. Their eyes light up, a smile crosses their face, they are completely focused on the moment, doing what they love to do and being who they really are.

We witness the same radiant energy when we look at a piece of art by someone who was completely in flow when creating it.

We see it in a child when s/he is completely focused and experiencing the joy of playing with a toy, rolling in the sand, or expressing delight about whatever is happening in the moment.

While we all have the ability to experience this sense of completeness, it doesn’t happen automatically.

It requires being able to let go, even for a split second, and connecting with that energy within that has no words. It is already complete just as it is, unique and almost magical.

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How Do We Live a Complete Life?

How do we go from navigating the responsibilities of the day-to-day—working, paying bills, trying to eat healthy, exercising, connecting with the outer world, and keeping our relationships humming along, while also feeling this sense of wholeness and completeness? What is a complete life?

The answers are different for each of us, but in my experience, the following five rules can help.

1. Choose Self-Compassion and Empathy

So often we are taught that the only way we can succeed or attain true happiness is if we learn to do things better than other people or when we achieve our personal best.

What if, however, instead of so much focus on life in competitive terms, we instead experimented with compassion?

One of the greatest teachers I have ever had the privilege of studying with when it comes to training in empathy and self-compassion is the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron.

Pema teaches a simple technique called tonglen meditation[1]. In a nutshell, tonglen meditation is training in letting go of the hard-ness of judgement, and accessing the soft spot of empathy and compassion.

The important thing about empathy is to remember that just as we are each unique, we are also always connected with each other because we are all human.

The ability to truly feel compassion for ourselves and deep empathy for others not only makes our current relationships better, it can also help us to attract new relationships that are truly authentic and fulfilling.

2. Be Vulnerable in Order to Stretch and Grow

We receive so many messages from marketers that we would be happier and more successful if we were more perfect. The truth is, perfection is not a goal that any of us can attain.

While none of us are perfect, we are all capable of enormous change, transformation, and growth.

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When we shift our perspective to seeing life as an adventure, an opportunity to grow and learn, and adopt a growth mindset[2], we begin experiencing the joy that only comes from stretching.

In this way, living a full, complete life isn’t about achieving specific goals, but rather about discovering new ways to connect with that part of ourselves that is unique, complete, changing, growing, and expanding all the time.

The ability to stretch and grow helps us to experience life as a series of complete moments rather than an end goal unto itself.

3. Give Back and Help Others

We each have something unique to offer the world. Research shows that knowing that the small role we play is making a positive difference makes us happier and healthier[3] and has a positive effect on our resilience[4].

Ask yourself if there is one simple way you could make someone’s life better today. Pay attention to what you choose.

When we find a way to make a difference that also resonates with our unique gifts and who we really are, we reach a new level of fulfillment.

Your unique way of helping may light the way to a greater sense of purpose that could help make your life feel more complete.

4. Listen to Your Intuition

For years, I have been studying and teaching ways we can each access our intuition more easily. I am often amazed both by how easily we can each access answers for our lives when we take a quiet moment to connect.

We receive so many messages about what is right and wrong that we often forget to tune into and trust ourselves. By simply sitting in silence or meditating on an open-ended question, however, we can easily and effortlessly gain powerful insights about what is right for us in our lives.

Other ways to access our intuition include journaling, writing down our dreams, listening to how our body feels when we are around certain people or doing certain tasks, and asking ourselves specific questions about what we need most and paying attention to the first thing that pops into our mind.

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Our intuition can be a powerful guide to finding unexpected stops along the way, treasures we would have never known were available to us if we hadn’t trusted our inner wisdom.

5. Do What You Love

Research shows that when we do what we love, and do that in a state of flow, we find our way not only to happiness, but also to greater success and overall well-being[5].

You don’t have to do what you love as a career. You don’t even have to be good at it. Making time for activities you love, without any thought to where they are taking you, can make a huge difference in your life.

If you aren’t sure what you love to do, there are many books about finding your passion and spending time in flow and being creative, including Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck and Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar.

Honoring our passions not only helps us to connect with our unique essence, but it also helps us find our unique paths to living lives that honor all of who we are.

Doing more of what we love can also pave the way to new hobbies or careers that can help our lives feel more complete.

Final Thoughts

What is a complete life for you? Trust your own answers.

What do you think about the idea of having a unique essence that no one else has? What makes you feel most in sync, connected, and alive?

Look back over the 5 rules above. Which one excites you most? Which one do you think might have the greatest positive impact on your life right now?

Pick one of the rules above and start today. You are already on your way!

More Articles on Living a Complete Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Laurie Smith

Inspirational Writer. Coach. Healer.

How to Set Intentions That Set You Up for Success 13 Keys to Living Your Best Life and Aligning Your Priorities What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By Understanding the 5 Stages of Life Can Help Navigate Hard Times how to get out of a funk How to Get Out of a Funk When You’re Stressed Out

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Changing your mindset is no easy task, but having an open and positive mindset is a game changer. Your personal growth is what propels the choices you make for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Just something as simple as changing your thinking can change your life.

Importance of Mindset Work

There’s great importance in spending time doing mindset work. Within this period, we begin to understand ourselves, and through that understanding, we become more compassionate and patient with ourselves.

Our society and culture thrive on the busyness that life brings not only into our lives but even to our dinner table. With that comes some consequences of using “band-aid” solutions and quick remedies to get through particular blocks in our lives. Those solutions never last long and it’s about committing the time and effort to slow down, ground ourselves, and reshift our focus.

Changing your thinking is not only to be more optimistic but giving your mind the breathing room it needs to grow and expand. It’s about looking at everything that hasn’t worked for you and being open to other ways that might.

How to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Here are 11 practical ways to change your thinking:

1. Show up

Not feeling the gym? Go anyway. Don’t feel like playing the piano after making a commitment to practice every day? Do it and play.

The payout of showing up and committing goes a long way. It builds confidence, and with that growth, your mindset begins to change.

Of course, showing up may not always be fun but by meeting these small goals on your list allows you to tackle on the bigger ones that may seem far out of reach.

2. Find an Anchor

We all need an anchor, or in other words, we all need something to believe in when our thoughts are wavering. Whether you are religious, have a spiritual connection with a higher power, or have someone who grounds you – hold onto it.

My dad first introduced me to the Law of Attraction when I was 17 and to be completely honest, I thought it was silly and never gave it much thought. Fast forward ten years and the Law of Attraction has become so integrated into my daily life that it’s become the anchor in my belief system. That anchor is also what propels me to be a better version of myself. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel when I have convinced myself that light does not exist.

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The purpose of an anchor is to ground you when your mind and/or external factors come weighing you down. It’s about having faith and trust in that one thing or power when everything else seems to go dark. This is one of the most important things you need to have if you want to begin to change your mindset.

3. Ask Why

It’s really that simple. In order to change your thinking, you have to dig deeper into what it is that’s causing a reaction.

  • Why does it bother me that another person took the parking slot that I was waiting for?
  • Why do I feel uneasy when I dine at a restaurant alone?
  • Why do I feel happy after I purchase a new outfit?

We ask “why” to a lot of external factors, but very rarely we ask that about ourselves. It’s also a way to get to know yourself as if getting to know a friend.

As we begin to answer these questions, we realize that it’s not the external factors that bring happiness, sadness, guilt, or joy, and it’s more about understanding our own values.

Now, have a conversation with yourself and reflect on your answers when you do ask these “whys.”

For example:

The reason why I’m irritated at this person for taking my parking slot is that I’m busy and have endless errands to run. I don’t have time to be looking for another slot.

Reflection: how am I managing my time and are these time restrictions causing me unnecessary stress? I should prioritize my errands so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

The reason why I feel uneasy when I dine in at a restaurant alone is that I don’t want people to think I have no friends.

Reflection: I care a lot of what people think of me including strangers and it affects my emotional well-being. I don’t have these thoughts when I see another person eating alone, so why and when did I start having this opinion about myself? I should start dining out alone so I can learn how to step out of my comfort zone.

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The reason why I feel great after purchasing a new outfit is is that I feel confident.

Confidence is key because it determines how I show up when I meet strangers, clients, and overall how I carry myself. How do I maintain this confidence without splurging on a new outfit everytime I need that extra boost? I could wear my glasses or carry a book with me to help me play that part.

Having these mindful yet straightforward conversations with yourself are simple ways you can change your thinking. Reflection is the key to understanding your strong and weak points.

Here is also a great article on the power of self-reflection and ten questions you should ask yourself.

4. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

As mentioned above, we all have a comfort zone. Like a turtle, we feel cozy and safe inside our shell, but to change your thinking, one must be willing to step out of that shell no matter how much that shell feels like home.

Our mindset will only begin to change if we allow ourselves to be exposed to the possibilities of change. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest things you can do, but it all goes back to building your confidence.

Some of the most significant friendships I have to date is all thanks to the five seconds I decided to step out of my comfort zone, introduce myself, and carry a converastion.

Strive to learn something new every day – even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at first.

Still wondering how to step out of your comfort zone? Take a look at this article:

Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

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5. Look at Things from a Different View

I once asked a friend what self-love meant to her. She answered, “self-love means being a parent to yourself.”

I was never expecting that answer, but it got me the wheels in my mind exploring other definitions of what self-love could mean to others and myself.

Changing your thinking also means being open to other opinions, especially if it challenges your own. You’ll begin to realize that the more mindset work you dive into, the more you will be approaching new opinions and ideas from a grounding and calming place. Things that used to have you on your defense will slowly turn into a question of curiosity instead.

6. Slow Down

Here’s the thing. You take the same route to work and leave your house at the same time. While on you are getting off the highway, you stop by your favorite coffee shop to order your daily brew, then you’re out the door and heading straight to the office.

During this daily routine, have you ever noticed the color of the corner building right before you get off the highway? Or have you noticed whether your barista is left-handed or right-handed?

Probably not, because most of the time we tend to live our lives on auto-pilot.

Science says we make about 35,000 decisions a day;[1] therefore it makes sense that half the time our minds are on auto-pilot. There are great setbacks that come from having this “auto switch” including having those feelings of mindlessly scrolling through your phone or being so deep in your thoughts that you are mentally checked out.

One way to change your mindset is slowing down. When you slow down, you begin to find yourself in the same tune and vibrations as the world around you. You begin to become aware of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You start becoming present.

If you want to change your life, you must be present in the life you are currently living in. By being present, you begin to shift to a state of gratitude.

7. Eliminate the Excuses and Create Solutions

How often do we use the word “but?”

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For instance, “I want to eat healthier but I’m so busy that I can’t meal prep,” “I want to buy a new car but I’m still paying off some of my debt,” “I would like to start my own business but I don’t have the time or finances for that.”

Now eliminate the “but” and imagine how you would feel if these external factors weren’t much of an issue.

This is a simple but powerful technique in changing your thinking. It’s all about tapping into those emotions and eliminating the roadblocks that we spend so much energy focusing on. Instead, begin shifting your focus from the but’s and toward the “how’s.”

Here’s some nice advice for you:

How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

The Bottom Line

Changing your mindset is a work in progress and one that should be eye-opening as it is rewarding. It’s about getting to know yourself on a deeper level and creating a friendship with yourself along the way.

There’s no one solution fits all, but it all comes down to taking that first step.

More Resources About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

Reference

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